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Straube, Andreas; Ellrich, J.; Eren, O.; Blum, B.; Ruscheweyh, R. (2015): Treatment of chronic migraine with transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagal nerve (auricular t-VNS): a randomized, monocentric clinical trial. In: The Journal of Headache and Pain, Vol. 16, 543




Background Aim of the study was assessment of efficacy and safety of transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the vagal nerve (t-VNS) in the treatment of chronic migraine. Methods A monocentric, randomized, controlled, double-blind study was conducted. After one month of baseline, chronic migraine patients were randomized to receive 25 Hz or 1 Hz stimulation of the sensory vagal area at the left ear by a handhold battery driven stimulator for 4 h/day during 3 months. Headache days per 28 days were compared between baseline and the last month of treatment and the number of days with acute medication was recorded The Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) and the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) questionnaires were used to assess headache-related disability. Results Of 46 randomized patients, 40 finished the study (per protocol). In the per protocol analysis, patients in the 1 Hz group had a significantly larger reduction in headache days per 28 days than patients in the 25 Hz group (−7.0 ± 4.6 vs. −3.3 ± 5.4 days, p = 0.035). 29.4 % of the patients in the 1 Hz group had a ≥50 % reduction in headache days vs. 13.3 % in the 25 Hz group. HIT-6 and MIDAS scores were significantly improved in both groups, without group differences. There were no serious treatment-related adverse events. Conclusion Treatment of chronic migraine by t-VNS at 1 Hz was safe and effective. The mean reduction of headache days after 12 weeks of treatment exceeded that reported for other nerve stimulating procedures.